Our Top 4 Favorite Architectural Styles and How to Get the Look

The history of design has been defined by style eras that revolutionized building techniques, embraced new technologies, and reflected the cultural ideals of the time. Some of these styles have proven to endure and elements have been recycled and reimagined in current design applications. Dianne Kett, the lead architect at Amity Kett in San Antonio, Texas, reflects on her top 4 favorite architectural styles and how to get the look by including key architectural elements. 

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau design started in Britain in the late 1800s and quickly became popular across Europe before moving to the US. It was a direct response against industrialization and standardization by artists and designers who chose to embrace the organic forms found in nature. Designers drew most of their inspiration from the curves of plant stems or the colors of flower buds. The style is characterized by asymmetrical and arched lines, a combination of dynamic materials, and earthy colors. 

The Art Nouveau period gave architects and designers a chance to be creative and design free-flowing structures that are almost impossible to recreate today. Some of Dianne Kett’s favorite architects from the period include Antoni Gaudi, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Hector Guimard, and Victor Horta. These architects are synonymous with iconic structures like the Sagrada Família in Barcelona and the antique Paris Metro stations. 

How to Get the Art Nouveau Look

The Art Nouveau influence is making a comeback with a more streamlined and modern twist. While some Art Nouveau elements, like intricate stained glass atriums, are too cost-prohibitive to reproduce, there are other ways to bring the organic forms of nature inside. Some architectural features to consider would be large curved windows that open to gorgeous views, asymmetrical shapes, natural edge wood surfaces, and sunrooms for collections of indoor plants. Interior design elements to incorporate would include floral print fabrics and wallpapers, organic shaped furniture, and muted earth tone color palettes. 

Art Deco

The Art Deco style first appeared in France shortly before World War I. The movement was primarily limited to the 1920s and formed in direct contrast to Art Nouveau, eliminating the organic form in favor of geometric lines. It mixed contrasting elements of old-world cultures from around the globe and the ideals of a modern age, acknowledging the past while embracing the future. The style represented luxury, movie star level glamour, and an embrace of modern technological systems. Key design elements included bold colors, metallics, and geometric ornamentation. 

How to Get the Art Deco Look 

Art Deco embraced all things modern and cutting edge. Many of these iconic structures featured cantilever overhangs, corner windows, expanses of glass, and minimalist metal detailing. These same features are seeing a rise in popularity in contemporary style homes. A new take on the Art Deco style could feature flat roofs that double as rooftop decks, corner windows that prioritize views while creating an airy interior feel, and unique cantilevered structures that show off modern feats of engineering. For the interior, gold metal accents and bright color palettes featuring greens and pinks will offer a nod to Art Deco while staying relevant to current trends. 

The High Road – DK Studio

Mid Century Modern 

The Mid Century Modern movement further developed the structural feats begun in the Art Deco period. The movement lasted from around 1940 to 1970, peaking in the 50s and 60s. The Mid Century Modern aesthetic is defined by clean lines, simple shapes, and a focus on the materials used. Steel, concrete, post and beam construction, and expanses of glass were often utilized. The lifestyle needs of the decade were placed first, and there was an emphasis on function in addition to form. Mid Century Modern homes often included large windows, open floor plans for informal living, and front-facing privacy walls for secluded courtyards. 

How to Get the Mid Century Modern Look 

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of popularity for the Mid Century Modern style. The traditional Ranch-style floor plan continues to provide a functional way for modern families to live, offering separation of the bedrooms from the living area as well as more open and casual spaces like joined family and dining rooms. Architectural elements like clerestory windows offer light while maintaining a sense of privacy and expansive sliding glass doors allow for indoor-outdoor living, both popular features today. For the interior, Mid Century furniture recreations with low profiles are being utilized to enhance a feeling of larger and lighter spaces. 


The Craftsman style is defined as an American architectural style inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain during the last decades of the 19th century. It was formed as a reaction against the industrial revolution and put an emphasis on handmade craftsmanship and organic materials. The style featured large deep overhangs across front porches as well as proportions that felt grounded and favored horizontal lines. Interior architectural elements commonly included the use of wood timbers as well as built-ins. The style was embraced throughout the country and remains one of the most popular style choices in America today. 

How to Get the Craftsman Look 

The Craftsman home has never gone out of style and many of the classic elements that make up the look are commonly requested by homeowners looking to build and renovate. To get a Craftsman-style home include elements like a large front porch, heavy wood timbers both on the exterior and interior, built-in bookcases, large expanses of windows, and stone fireplaces. Wood detailing like trim, paneling, and hardwood floors are also key to create a warm and cozy Craftsman feel. Interior features to include are earthy colors, patterns drawn from nature, and unique handmade pieces. 

Looking to incorporate your favorite style in your next design project but don’t know where to start? Ask us how we can help. 

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